Monday’s New York Times featured reporter Jeremy Peters sounding awfully pleased about the apparent failure and unpopularity of Republican tax cuts in “Cut Taxes? In States, G.O.P. Goes Other Way.” Peters’ long hostility to the Republican Party is well documented, and he seemed to relish knocking down a GOP idol, a "dogmatic belief" based in "blind faith."
Many left-wingers still insist that supporters of Donald Trump are conservatives, but Washington Monthly blogger David Atkins finds Trump backers “far less terrifying” than staunch right-wingers. In a Sunday post, Atkins opined that even though Trump’s base voters tend to be mean and “ignorant,” movement conservatives are “more morally objectionable” because they believe in “economic royalism.”
The “unregulated capitalism” that conservatives favor, argued Atkins, “is a totalizing ideology as impractical as state communism but lacking the silver lining of [communism’s] species-being idealism; as impervious to reason as any cult religion, but lacking the promise of community, salvation or utopia; as brutal as any dictatorship, but without the advantage of order and security.”
First Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, compared net neutrality to “Obamacare for the Internet,” and now outspoken businessman Mark Cuban has tweeted that President Barack Obama’s proposed policy is something “straight out of Ayn Rand.”
Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Maverick and numerous entertainment outlets, tweeted a series of comments about net neutrality on November 13. (Tweets are below.) The tweets centered on comparing net neutrality to the extreme overreaches of government authority depicted by pro-capitalist author and philosopher Ayn Rand in such novels as “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”
Don’t look now, but there may be a Paul Ryan scandal, or at least a scandalette, and in this context New York magazine blogger Jonathan Chait is both Woodward and Bernstein. In a Monday post, Chait related that Ryan, in the newsmagazine The Week, had named his “six favorite books about economics and democracy,” and that the “huge omission” from the list was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which Ryan has so often praised to the skies.
Chait remarked that Ryan appears to be backing away from his politically problematic Randian makers/takers rhetoric and readopting a previous persona: “The new Ryan looks like the Bush-era version, with lots of giving to the rich without all the taking from the poor.”
Every so often a liberal pundit argues that even though Paul Ryan considers himself Catholic, his beliefs (on economics, at least) are closer to those of Ayn Rand than those of the Vatican. In a Friday piece for AlterNet, atheist writer CJ Werleman, author of books such as God Hates You. Hate Him Back, made a similar but far broader charge, claiming that Republicans in general routinely “conflate…Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with the Bible.”
In his article, Werleman discussed findings from a recent survey in which respondents speculated about the positions Jesus Christ would have taken on current political issues. Werleman opined that 80 percent of Democrats were right to think that Jesus would have backed universal health care (“it’s hard to imagine Jesus would deny care to those who lack the financial means to enjoy the comfort of our for-profit capitalist healthcare industry”) and declared that overall, the poll results showed that “Democrats align themselves more with the values of Jesus than [does] the proclaimed party of Jesus, the GOP.”
On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews and Howard Dean slammed the supposedly "lunatic" Republican Party for opposing President Obama's $3.7 billion request to deal with the ongoing crisis at the U.S-Mexico border. Dean likened the political stalemate over this issue and in general in Washington to McCarthyism in the 1950s: "It reminds me of the 'who lost China' debate...where one side is frothing at the mouth and finding communists under every bed; and the other side – including some reasonable Republicans...actually trying to run the country."
Matthews endorsed the former Vermont governor's take, and targeted fiscal conservatives/the Tea Party as somehow akin to Mao's Red Guards: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Early reporting on Tuesday’s Republican primary upset in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District indicated that Dave Brat’s stand on immigration reform was the main reason Brat defeated Eric Cantor, but Esquire political blogger Charles Pierce isn’t buying it. In a Wednesday post, Pierce argued that the immigration issue was less important than Brat’s opposition to the idea that “the national government should work at all.”
Pierce also claimed that Brat’s victory shows yet again that President Obama will never find common ground with today’s hard-right GOP, and quipped that Brat’s efforts to synthesize Christianity and Randian economics are “more appropriate to the Cirque du Soleil than to a political philosophy.”
When liberals and their media allies have an agenda to push, they’ll use any tool at hand. The left often rails against the presence of religion in civic life, mocking conservative Christians as “Taliban” agitating for theocracy. But other times, they find faith to be a handy weapon to bludgeon conservatives. And they’ll go so far as to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to justify any liberal cause, no matter how outrageous.
In 2010, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up this strategy in her call for “re-imagining the Bible as a tool of progressive social change.” Huffington Post contributor Mike Lux embraced Harris-Perry’s advice, writing that the Bible embodies “all kinds” of “liberal, lefty, progressive values.”
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is a Catholic – but not a good enough Catholic in the eyes of the media. Writers, bloggers, and talking heads have hammered Ryan for his supposed “dissent” from Catholic teaching.
Journalists have falsely claimed that the bishops “rebuked” Ryan and called his budget “un-Christian.” Writers who usually scorn the Church and its hierarchy fretted that the bishops found Ryan’s budget “uncompassionate.”
At least Barney didn't accuse Paul Ryan of going all Twilight on starving children, or of actually pouring kerosene on burning buildings.
No, appearing on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show today, the retiring Dem congressman contented himself by claiming that Ryan opposes people coming together to feed poor children or put out fires. View the video after the jump.
CNN asked Wednesday if a person can follow "both Ayn Rand and Jesus," pulling quotes from both a Democrat and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights to answer that Christianity and Rand's philosophy oppose each other. Buried deep within the post on CNN's Belief Blog was the contrary view that Christians can adopt certain tenants of Rand's philosophy while rejecting others contrary to their faith.
The question is popular among Christians at odds with the Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), a Catholic, who is a fan of Rand and her defense of capitalism and individualism. The American Values Network (AVN) in particular has tried to make known his endorsement of Rand and pitch it side-by-side with her anti-religious beliefs.
So with the news that Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is underperforming and leaving theaters rather than expanding, it’s unclear whether producer John Aglialoro will be able to produce the planned sequels for the adaptation of Ayn Rand’s most famous and controversial work. Name recognition from one of the bestselling books of the past century, still a chart-topper due its appeal to libertarians and limited-government advocates, wasn’t a strong enough draw to earn back even half of its $20 million production budget so far, and this raises a lot of questions for those who rooted for the film. What does this mean for conservatives and fans of Rand?
Obviously, it means everything we’ve ever believed is absolutely wrong.